Which Aloe Vera Health Benefits Should We Believe?
So many health benefits are claimed for Aloe Vera that it is difficult to know which ones to believe and which are quackery or made up by manufacturers to sell more products. So we decided to go back to the books and try to work out what is backed up by science, and what is yet to be proved.
Here is what we found out:
Aloe Vera Gel is thought to contain over 200 different chemicals of which about 75 have been identified, but it is not known exactly which of the compounds are responsible for the healing effects. It is most likely to be the combination of many of the substances contained in the gel which makes it effective.
Since this makes it difficult for any drug company to isolate or replicate the exact formula for the active compounds, pharmaceutical companies tend not to invest large sums in researching Aloe Vera. For this reason, there is still much work to be done before we understand the real therapeutic benefits of the 'miracle plant'.
So, although there are undeniably health giving substances in Aloe Vera, there is a lot more work to be done to find out how it works, and to extract or copy the healing ingredients so that reliable medicines can be produced with reproducible effects. So far, there has been quite a large variation in the results of various studies, because of different extraction methods, dosages, and shelf life of the ingredients. Fresh Aloe Gel is often the most effective, but that doesn't help the drug companies!
It is widely agreed among scientists that Aloe Vera is safe to use on the skin, but more research is needed before it can be stated that it is 100% safe to take internally.
Research into Aloe Vera Medicinal Uses are showing it is:
Anti-oxidant - acting against free radicals in the body from pollutants, cigarette smoke and other things which are bad for us.
Analgesic (pain killing)
It has also been shown to be effective against cancer in animal trials.
However, few mainstream pharmaceuticals have been produced using this plant and Aloe is not listed on the FDA’s "Generally Recognized as Safe" list due to a lack of studies about its safety.
There has been one study showing that whole leaf extract was
carcinogenic in rats, although it did not have the same effect in mice.
More research is needed to ascertain the risks for humans. Therefore,
it is advisable to be cautious when taking Aloe Vera internally.
Success Stories which Show Aloe Vera Health Benefits
Having said that, there are doctors who are using Aloe Vera Gel with great success for conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gastric diseases and skin conditions such as Eczema and Acne. Dr Peter Atherton is one of these and has written several books about his own trials with patients and experiences.
5 Scientific Studies Showing Positive Results for Aloe Vera
There has been a trial which shows that Aloe Vera is successful in treating Ulcerative Colitis.
Dr H McDaniel has carried out three trials which show encouraging results for the use of an anti-viral agent in Aloe Vera which boosts the immune system in AIDS patients.
Aloe Vera was shown, in the test tube, to kill the herpes, chicken pox, flu and rabies viruses within 15 minutes.
Acemannan from Aloe Vera is being trialed in cancer studies and has been shown to aid recovery and prolong life in dogs and cats.
Aloe Vera has been shown to have blood glucose regulating properties and so may become useful in treating diabetes.
(If you are interested in finding out more, we've put links to the scientific studies below).
The various known beneficial elements which are found in Aloe Vera include:
Our advice about Aloe Vera Health Benefits
One day, we might understand exactly what all these amazing ingredients can do to benefit human health. For now, we need to be cautious and treat Aloe Vera as a potent drug that we don’t fully understand.
Our advice is to use it happily to beautify your skin, treat your sunburn or wrinkles, but if you’re thinking of taking it internally, have a look at our Side Effects page, and consult your doctor before using any supplements.
Here is some more specific information about using Aloe Vera for various health benefits and weight loss:
DISCLAIMER: With any medical condition, you should consult a licensed physician before taking any supplements, and ensure that you tell your doctor if you are taking any other drugs or herbal remedies.
Read more about the scientific studies on Aloe Vera health benefits mentioned on this page: